Willis Barnstone has a problem: he’s too good. Everything he writes, from his invaluable The Other Bible, a compendium of holy texts no writer should be without, through his brilliant translations and beautiful poems, is a breathtaking achievement.

—Carolyn Kizer

Available February 1, 1999

To Touch The Sky

Poetry

Translated by Willis Barnstone

To Touch the Sky contains Willis Barnstone’s translations of some of the most profound and inspiring writing of world literature: ten mystical and spiritual poets spanning three thousand years. The theme of the whole volume is stated in the title of the book, from a fragment of Sappho (I could not hope/to touch the sky/with my two arms”). As Barnstone says in his introduction, “There is a moment of vision, otherness, apparent timelessness, erotic sublimity, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, for which there is no easy verbal equivalent except in the metaphors of poetry. These experiences are called ’ineffable’ and relegated to oblivion, but in the instance of our authors, the unsayable has been refashioned into the precision of poetry.”

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published February 1, 1999)

ISBN
9780811213967
Price US
15.95
Page Count
240

Willis Barnstone has a problem: he’s too good. Everything he writes, from his invaluable The Other Bible, a compendium of holy texts no writer should be without, through his brilliant translations and beautiful poems, is a breathtaking achievement.

—Carolyn Kizer